August 8, 2013 The proposed studies would essentially create a recipe for a more contagious bird flu. Some scientists worry these viruses could escape the lab and possibly kill millions. But others think the information gleaned from the experiments is critical for keeping H7N9 from becoming a global threat.
August 8, 2013 The bacteria that cause many cases of ear infection in kids and pneumonia in the elderly are usually harmless until activated by distress signals from their human host. When the flu or another virus gives you a fever, for example, mild-mannered pneumococcus can turn nasty.
August 6, 2013 Chinese scientists offer the first clear evidence that the H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted from human to human. A father, who became sick in March, passed the virus to his daughter. But the risk of transmission is quite low, and the virus still doesn't appear to pose a global threat.
August 6, 2013 Once the smoke cleared in the casinos of Gilpin County, Colo., after an indoor smoking ban took effect, health researchers documented a sharp drop in the number of emergencies requiring ambulances.
August 2, 2013 In one analysis, economists predict that extreme weather could boost the number of international conflicts by as much as 50 percent by 2050. Higher temperatures might also increase the rates of murder, rapes and domestic violence, they say because aggression seems to rise with the mercury.
August 1, 2013 Acting altruistically rather than selfishly is what makes quarantines successful in stopping disease outbreaks. But an analysis by scientists at MIT finds that commuting patterns also could play a big role in how infectious diseases spread.
July 31, 2013 Many people who die of venomous snakebites never make it to a hospital. A San Francisco doctor came up with what he thinks may be a workaround to save those lives. But he had to test it first.
July 31, 2013 In the 1970s, Ali Maow Maalin, a Somali hospital worker, was the last member of the general public to catch smallpox — worldwide. Once recovered, he worked for years to wipe out polio in Somalia. Maalin, called "an inspiration" by world health leaders, died unexpectedly last week.
July 23, 2013 The most comprehensive survey on female genital mutilation and cutting finds the practice has decreased in more than half of the countries where it persists. But in parts of eastern Africa, about 90 percent of girls still undergo the abusive procedure.
July 19, 2013 One study finds that women who have been vaccinated against HPV are much less likely to have throat infections with the virus. Since the vaccine helps reduce risk of some cancers, scientists think it might turn out to be effective against throat cancers, too.
July 19, 2013 Tuberculosis was once a top killer in the U.S. The disease was such a threat that overcoming it helped lay the groundwork for modern medicine. Now the bacteria are growing resistant to many antibiotics, and some doctors worry TB could rebound.